Hamas: 'No Idea' How Many Hostages Are Alive

AP Photo/Hussein Malla

After weeks of delays, Hamas has rejected the latest ceasefire deal proposed by the Biden administration and Israeli officials. The terrorist group claims that Israel is still ignoring their key demands to permanently exit Gaza. But a separate story in the news this week could explain some of Hamas' true motives. The first and most important demand from the West is that Hamas release its hostages. But according to the group's spokesperson, Osama Hamdan, Hamas probably can't say how many hostages they might be able to release because they have "no idea" how many of them are still alive at this point. Of course, Hamdan is in Lebanon where he spoke to CNN on this subject, so it was unclear how up-to-date his information might be at this time. (Free Beacon)

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A high-ranking Hamas official and negotiator for the terrorist group said "no one has an idea" about how many of the over 250 hostages taken from Israel on October 7 are still alive.

"I don’t have any idea about that," the official, Osama Hamdan, told CNN during an interview in Beirut, Lebanon, when asked about the status of the hostages. "No one has an idea about this."

Israeli intelligence believes that there are around 100 living hostages in Gaza and the remains of around 30 hostages who have been killed.

Just because Hamdan claims to not know how many hostages remain alive, that doesn't mean that we should assume that they are all dead. The IDF believes there are still roughly 100 living hostages and their intelligence resources are quite well informed, as demonstrated by their ability to locate and rescue four of them recently. That rescue operation also revealed that Hamas is using supposed Palestinian "civilians" to hold at least some of the hostages, so that may provide Israel with additional information needed to locate more of them.

We also shouldn't put too much stock into anything that Osama Hamdan says based on the other ludicrous comments he made to CNN during the interview. He claimed that any mental anguish the hostages may be suffering is the fault of Israel because the hostages had to witness all of the violence and "terrorism" that Israel has inflicted on the people of Gaza. He went on to describe the hostages' health after eight months of captivity as being "better than before." (Tell that to the ones that are already dead.)

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While it is depressing to contemplate, these recent developments point to the likelihood that the current negotiations are meaningless and will not produce any sort of resolution. Hamas has no intention of surrendering and they are very unlikely to release any more hostages. Assuming any of them are alive, those hostages are the last chip that Hamas has to play. The terrorists also do not care how many "civilian" casualties there are in Gaza because they believe that those deaths actually help them in their international public relations campaign, applying pressure on Israel to relent. Unfortunately, they are clearly at least partially correct in that regard because many of Israel's traditional allies have been backing away in their support and criticizing the Rafah offensive.

I remain mindful of the fact that Hamas is still holding American citizens as well. We recently learned that Biden administration officials have been discussing the possibility of negotiating with Hamas directly to secure the release of the Americans. Obviously our long-standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists went out the window when Joe Biden took office. But such a plan would almost certainly be a waste of time. What does Joe Biden have available to put on the table and cut a deal? He can't force Israel to do anything they don't want to do on their own. I suppose he could offer them cash the same as he did with Iran, but Hamas is currently a bit too tied up to have much use for the money. At this point, our best option is probably to just continue helping Israel in every way possible until they can locate and rescue as many of the rest of the hostages as possible while mentally preparing ourselves for the likelihood that at least some of them will be lost in the process.

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David Strom 12:40 PM | July 23, 2024
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